With retail sales inching upward in advance of the holiday shopping season and economic indicators looking better than they have in recent years, we’re wondering whether 2013 will prove to be a turnaround year for the economy. We certainly hope so and we’re taking a few minutes away from flurry to think about what has sustained us through these tough times.
Stores.org reported earlier this year that market research leader IBISWorld identified these retail sectors as the top five prospects for 2012, based on start-up costs, barriers to entry, and estimated 2012 revenue: tires; handbags, luggage, and accessories; art; furniture; and specialty foods. Not only did the decidedly unglamorous tire dealership top the list, its expected growth of 10% is almost double that of the leading trailer, handbags and related goods, at 5.5%. Continue reading Will 2013 Be a Lucky Number for Entrepreneurs?
Every year, the sales peak ends at Christmas for most direct retailers. That means that the inventory returns peak is just starting.
While returns are inevitable, they often affect warehouse operations and customer service departments the hardest. However, these end-of-season returns also affect financial results because of their toll on profits. Merchandisers and inventory planners must account for returns throughout the year.
Soft goods (apparel) tend to have high return rates. Menswear and footwear averages a 10% to 20% return rate. A 20% to 30% return rate is typical for women’s basic apparel. Returns on women’s fashion apparel can go above 30%.
So why do these percentages matter? Think of it this way. A return rate of 20% for a retailer with $10 million in apparel sales means $2 million in returned sales. Include the resulting reduction in gross margin dollars plus the cost of processing returns: free return shipping costs, demand on your call center, funding a returns department, managing what becomes distressed inventory and it’s obvious that returns can deeply impact a company’s bottom line. Continue reading Prepare For Inventory Returns
“Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”- Abraham Lincoln
There is nothing more important for a business than to have good character. Working Person’s Store embodies this character and thus follows a good reputation. The fact that Working Person’s Store has this good reputation makes it among the our most valuable assets. Our reputation is staked on what customers think about how we do business and how our business character is assessed.
Do we compete fairly? Do we run a smooth, clean operation? Do we treat our employees well? Do we bad-mouth competition or speak about them with respect? Continue reading Company Character
Working Person’s Store is in no means a big box discounter. However, we do endeavor to merge the prices and merchandising of larger companies with the quality and service of smaller companies to ensure the best possible outcome for our valued customers.
In the quest for lower prices and better merchandising, it is important to understand the six tenets the big box discounter adheres to.
1. An appeal to the lowest prices.
2. An excess of square footage.
3. A method of merchandising based on the concept “Pile it high, sell it cheap.”
4. The elimination of service.
5. The implementation of self-service shelving, techniques, etc.
6. An abundance of advertising with the primary message “Items sold below cost.”
Working Person’s Store works to compete with big box companies by keeping prices competitive, product selection better and back it with service and training. Through our frequent specials and coupons and easy online access, we present the best of both worlds.
“Through shared vision and good values, common people can accomplish extraordinary things.”
A job shouldn’t just be a means to an end; it should be a partnering of life purpose with productive work. At WorkingPerson.com, our leadership understands the natural need to know life’s significance, especially in relation to daily work. Our quality products and staff reflect this need and seek to provide customers with merchandise that has purpose.
Because our leadership at WorkingPerson.com wants to help employees grow in the Company, we work to understand their perspectives. It’s our goal to be great encouragers; thus, we strive to help them pursue loyalty, dedication, and ongoing employment with us. Just as much as we care that our Carhartt jeans will last customers many years, we care about each employee on a personal and professional level. We don’t want anyone to be a nameless face in a crowd. Great companies who have lost this understanding have not remained great for very long.
As a result of this individual attention, we expect effective leaders to support and be as well supported as their feet in a pair of our Ironclad Rocky work boots. In order for any collaboration to work, a frontrunner is needed. The leader we need is someone whose traits separate them from the rest of the pack. What Working Person’s Store requests leaders to exhibit follows:
Healthy disposition toward others
Ability to embody constant integrity
Desire to achieve short and long-term goals
Attitude that is pleased but never satisfied with present results
Skill to promote and teach personal talents to others
Responsibility to find others’ strengths and push them to succeed as a result
Capacity to make decisions based on the company’s core philosophy, values, and beliefs
Able to guard against company bureaucracy
Adept at understanding that some work on the business and some work in the business
Gifted at ensuring the business provides to customers what it has told them it would
Effective company leaders, by the very nature of the work they are to accomplish, must be developers of people, risk takers, and continuously striving to learn and grow themselves. Like the exceptional quality of our products, so must our leaders be.
One of the Working Person’s Store employee level training goals is to include very job specific content in each training session. This is often material of a technical nature that must be known by the employee in order to serve the Working Person’s Store customer well.
The best content and the most professionally designed materials however are not enough to accomplish our training goals! Working Person’s Store trainers therefore must do more than organize and present the subject matter well. You might ask then, what else is needed?
The answer: Place the learner at the center of the learning process.
This means the learner must be just as active and involved in the session as is the presenter.
The effective company makes common people achieve uncommon performance. It understands its task is to use the strength of each team member as a building block for performance.
When staffing for strength, the effective organization follows four rules:
Any job that has defeated two or three people in succession, even though each had performed well in previous assignments, must be assumed unfit for human beings. It must be redesigned.
Each job must be made both demanding and big.
The organization always starts out with what each team member can do rather than what the job requires. This in turn, requires the organization to do it’s thinking about people long before the decision on filling a job has to be made.
Did it relate to work or to home? This may be a difficult question to ask, so you might want to start by making a list of what you have accomplished this year and narrow it down to a single accomplishment that you would call your proudest.
What was your major learning experience during the year?
This might be work or personal. Sometimes life lessons take years to learn, until one day it dawns on us to take action and that becomes the major learning experience for the year. Or, it could be that we are hit suddenly with a crisis that literally stops us in our tracks and forces us to confront facts and events that become a major learning experience. Continue reading Year End Team Evaluation